7 Differences About Being Amish and Pregnant That You’d Likely Never Hear About From Them
Perhaps you’ve never really thought about it, but pregnancy and childbirth are quite a bit different when you’re Amish than when you’re English (what Amish people call everyone who isn’t Amish). I grew up near an Amish community, and I recognized the differences between their way of life and my own (they don’t drive cars, they don’t use electricity, they wear handmade clothes that definitely don’t follow the current fashion trends, the list goes on), so it should be no surprise that these facts (and others) make bringing a new baby home a little unusual compared to your own experience.
In most Amish societies it’s taboo to even mention the word “pregnant.” When an Amish woman is pregnant, she refers to it as being “with child,” and she usually only talks about it with her husband and midwife. Now, in some progressive Amish groups, the mom-to-be may tell a friend or two, and then they tell a friend or two, and she tells her husband and he tells the dad-to-be, and the whole community very well may know what’s going on. BUT, it’s not talked about openly. It’s not talked about in front of children. Basically, one day there’s just a new baby.
No Baby Shower
If no one is talking about the baby-on-the-way until the baby has arrived, then there’s no way you can have a baby shower is there? It’d also be hard to imagine throwing a baby shower without modern technology. Ordering off a registry wouldn’t be as easy. You can’t exactly use Amazon Prime, after all. While babies are considered a blessing, it’s not proper in Amish society to make yourself the center of attention and request lots of presents be given to you. The baby might get a gift or two anyway. A beautiful Amish quilt is a common gift from the women in the family or from the new mom.
There’s No Taking It Easy
Pregnant moms don’t talk about being pregnant, or “with child,” and they are expected to keep up with their chores around the home and farm as usual. There’s no taking it easy or resting your swollen feet while indulging on the latest weird craving. There’s good ol’ hard work. Maybe that’s one reason they give birth fairly quickly – they keep moving. I seem to remember hearing that walking can help move labor along, and there’s certainly a lot of walking done around a farm. Hmmm.
That’s right. Insurance as we know it isn’t a thing in Amish communities. That’s one reason that Amish families try to keep medical costs to a minimum. They do this in part by going to a minimal number of prenatal visits with a doctor or midwife, and they often choose to give birth at home. Sometimes Amish parents even barter with a doctor and exchange a quilt for medical services.
Amish moms often have a midwife assist with childbirth. They don’t use birthing pools. They simply give birth in their bed at home, and since they don’t induce childbirth, the baby usually comes fairly quickly. One reason they give birth at home is to save money on medical expenses.
Lots of Babies
Nowadays, many American families have about 2.4 children, but for the Amish, the average family has anywhere from 5-10 children. There are a few reasons for this. One, Amish don’t use childbirth. It’s against their religion. Two, they live on farms, and the more help the better. Seriously. Three, children are considered a blessing, and who wants to put a limit on blessings?
Like I mentioned earlier, most Amish women have between 5-10 children. That pretty much makes them pros at childbirth. In fact, sometimes an experienced mother, a “birthing mother,” will help out a first-time mom, acting as a doula.